The Team

Nancy Chen - Principal Investigator

I am an evolutionary biologist interested in the genomic basis of contemporary evolution in natural populations. My research integrates genomics and long-term demographic studies with pedigree data to characterize the evolutionary processes shaping patterns of variation across the genome through space and time. I earned my Ph.D. with Andy Clark and John Fitzpatrick at Cornell University and then did a postdoc with Graham Coop at UC Davis before joining the faculty at the University of Rochester in 2018. CV

Phone: 585-276-7149
Twitter: @popgenchen
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Felix Beaudry - Postdoctoral Scholar

Felix is interested in the evolution of sex, sex chromosomes and sexual conflict. Combining quantitative and population genetics, Felix investigates how non-additive genetic effects like linkage and dominance impact the evolution of sex. Felix is also interested in developing a teaching plan that explores the genetics of sex and clearly distinguishes sex from gender. Felix did his PhD on plant sex chromosomes at the University of Toronto. For more, see Felix’s website.

Elsie Shogren - Postdoctoral Scholar (co-advised by Al Uy)

Elsie wants to understand how behavior, ecology, and the environment interact to shape the evolutionary trajectories of birds. Testing predictions at behavioral, physiological, and genomic levels, she is working to determine what drives repeated evolution of melanism in island populations of Monarcha flycatchers. Elsie completed her Ph.D. at Kansas State University with Dr. Alice Boyle, studying how the abiotic environment influences the scope of sexual selection in Neotropical Manakins (Pipridae). For more, see Elsie’s website.

Lindsey Perrin - Graduate Student

Lindsey Perrin studied ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Rochester as an undergraduate student. She loves biology and is interested in studying genomics and evolutionary genetics while pursuing a career in research.

Jeremy Summers - Graduate Student

Jeremy is a PhD student interested in the causes of population decline and the role of dispersal in demographic and evolutionary trajectories. Using population level demography, individual fitness variation, and population genetics, he is investigating how dispersal into preserved Florida Scrub-Jay habitat contributes to population growth and levels of genetic variation. Jeremy is also interested in teaching evolutionary biology with an emphasis on diversity at every level of organization and the ways humans shape and interact with our local ecosystems.

Michaela Burrell - Undergraduate Researcher

Michaela is a Take 5 Scholar, majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a minor in Computational Biology. She is interested in conservation biology, specifically conservation issues involving bird species. Michaela is a captain of Rochester’s Varsity Track and Field Team. Each migration season, she is a volunteer at the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory.

Kristin Hardy - Undergraduate Researcher

Kristin is an undergraduate majoring in molecular genetics. She is interested in genetic mutations and population genetics and is pursuing a career in genetic counseling. Outside of the Chen Lab, she works in the URMC emergency department and enrolls patients in emergency medicine research studies and she is also a member of the women’s track and field team.

Matthew Le - Undergraduate Researcher

Matt is from Lake Placid, New York currently majoring in Computational Biology and minoring in Chinese. In my free time, I enjoy playing basketball, piano and video games. I am not exactly sure what it is that I am interested in yet but I enjoy learning and am very excited to work in the lab this semester. So I guess another way to put it is that, as of right now, I am interested in everything!

Gladiana Spitz - Undergraduate Researcher

Gladiana is a junior majoring in Computational Biology. She is interested in using computational methods to learn more about species’ interacting phenotypes and genotypes. Outside of the classroom, she’s passionate about human rights, conservation, and art. She wants to keep learning about everything for her career and hopefully be a positive influence on what she studies.

Ceylin Zeybek - Visiting Undergraduate Researcher

I am a senior majoring in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bilkent University, Turkey. I’m interested in evolution and its impact on everything ranging from populations to individual microorganisms. I am highly motivated to learn different evolutionary biology related phenomena that I could not study under my major. Outside of my career, I enjoy winter sports and rock climbing. As a summer visitor of Chen lab, I want to understand how the environmental conditions and inbreeding shape the genomic variation of the endangered Florida Scrub-Jay population. I am very happy as being the part of this lab!

Dashi and Espurr - Lab pets

Dashi and Espurr are second-year cats with broad interests including displays of affection, sleeping, and occasionally learning tricks. Dashi is our resident entomologist and wants to investigate the culinary uses of insects, if his lab-mate Jeremy would let him catch any. Espurr is specializing in botany and has discovered that frequent face rubbing with plants triggers a strong purr response in herself.

The Chen lab is recruiting motivated undergrads, grad students, and postdocs. Please contact me if you’re interested in joining the lab!

Lab Alumni

Tamanna Bhatia (undergraduate researcher)

Syed Ars Ghani (undergraduate researcher)

Jonathan Chow (undergraduate researcher) - now a MS student at Georgia Tech

Bo Zhou (undergraduate researcher) - now a MEng student at UC Berkeley

Tiffany Dias (undergraduate researcher) - now a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan

Martha Hoffman (post-bac research intern) - now a vet student at Cornell

Ph.D. rotation students: Maria Isabel Castano, Rose Driscoll, Matthew Lindsay


Reed Bowman, Archbold Biological Station

Andy Clark, Cornell University

Graham Coop, UC Davis

John Fitzpatrick, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Steve Schoech, University of Memphis

Susan Johnston, University of Edinburgh

Josephine Pemberton, University of Edinburgh

Andrew McAdam, University of Guelph